I’ve been entirely engulfed by ontology, epistemology and affordances the past days. My head is about to explode. But I’ve reached a temporary conclusion. A conclusion that is generally applicable, follow most of the “traditional” ideas from ecological cog, embodied cog and rECS. They depart in some aspects, but I believe them to be necessary to live up to the philosophical demands.
Affordances, need to be, or to be grounded in, [perceived]* physical properties. The reason I have is that there is no other possible way to define it without departing from realism. Please prove me wrong, I am staring myself blind at this.
Epistemologically, affordances are perceptible through information.
Information, [any] structure of [any] energy array (brilliantly defined by Sabrina Golonka)
Epistemologically, sensory modalities discriminate between and within structures.
Perception, “the apprehension of [information] where 1) the structure is specific to an event or property in the world, 2) where the meaning of the structure (for that organism in that task) is about that event or property (i.e., a dog’s bark is about the event of a barking dog), and 3) where the meaning of the structure must be learned (or, more correctly, where an organism must learn how to coordinate action with respect to this structure).” (stolen again from Sabrina Golonka).
Realisation, perception of affordances.
Epistemologically, perceiving information and coming to an understanding (need not be conscious, obviously… as if there is a black and white divide of conscious and non-conscious…) of some/all/the situationally relevant agent/objects’ affordances.
Actualisation, agent/object(s) affordance(s) interaction with agent/object(s) affordance(s).
Epistemologically, bodily movement between and/or within agents/objects affordances and can be either compatible (by the agent(s) affordances or by extension, like using a stick or something) or not (like lifting the earth, the earth does not lend itself to be lift-able).
Constraints, boundaries of realisation and actualisation.
Epistemologically, restrict compatibility of affordances between and/or within agent(s)/object(s). The knee does not afford the leg to bend backwards. A local constraint that has consequences for bodily movement in the global environment. Being dynamically coupled to environment/objects/other agents, constraints vary depending on the current situationally available affordances.
One thought on “Temporary conclusion on affordance definitions (my head will explode if I don’t give this a rest for a while). (4/5)”
Your head will not stop spinning any time soon. The problem is that Gibson and affordance-talk derive out of American philosophy, which ultimately rejects most of the categories you want to use when trying to think things through. Trying to cleanly distinguish ontological, epistemological, and metaphysical claims in this context will lead to a deep rabbit hole.